Rafael Nadal (Player Profile) will be once again at the top of the ATP Rankings. The Spaniard booked a place in the China Open final after Tomas Berdych (Player Profile) retired when trailing 4-2, reclaiming the World No. 1 title for the first time since July of 2011.
The newly crowned No. 1 battled back from a a 4-6, 1-4 scoreline to defeat Fabio Fognini in three sets in front of a thrilled crowd in China. It was certainly a trying moment for Nadal, who was bidding to reach his 13th final of the season. The Italian was 3-24 against top 10 competition heading into his match with Nadal yet displayed an inspiring performance to rattle Rafa for the better part of two sets. While his win over Berdych was not as demanding, it was still an entertaining affair during the opening set. There were several breaks of serve before Nadal was able to hold onto his advantage to steal the opening set. It was following the first set that Berdych chose to retire from the contest and offer Nadal a walkover win back to the No.1 spot.
Rafa’s semi-final win extended his undefeated hard court streak in 2013 to 26-0 and is 10-2 in ATP finals this year. He is the only player to hold two separate Grand Slam singles titles this year, having won the US and French Opens to add to his ranking points after missing the Australian Open at the start of the year. His only blemish in 2013 is a first round exit from Wimbledon, which set his record to 0-1 on grass courts this season. Amongst his 11 ATP tour wins this season are a record 5 Masters 1000 titles which include winning Montreal and Cincinnati to earn his 26th overall Masters 1000 title.
The 27-year old’s return to the No. 1 position could arguably be recognized as the culminating moment of his extraordinary comeback season. He holds the lead in the Race to London table heading into the ATP World Tour Finals and will be eyeing a strong finish to this historic season.